UN prosecutor, UK reaffirm commitment to justice for Srebrenica victims

[JURIST] British Prime Minister David Cameron [official website] and UN Chief War Crimes Prosecutor Serge Brammertz [official profile] marked the Fifteenth anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre [JURIST news archive], by reaffirming their commitment to bringing those responsible for the deaths of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys to justice. Cameron issued a statement [press release] calling the massacre "a crime that shamed Europe" and stating that the victims must never be forgotten. He pledged that the British government will continue its efforts to bring former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic [JURIST news archive] and others before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website; JURIST news archive]. He also stated that his government will "take a close interest in the [Balkan] region" to help them move forward and eventually join the European Union (EU) [official website] and NATO [official website]. Cameron promised that the government would do "all in [its] power to ensure that such an atrocity can never be repeated." In an interview with a German newspaper, Brammertz echoed Cameron's pledge [Die Wertz report, in German] to bring Mladic and others involved in the massacre to justice. Brammertz said that justice will not be completely served until Mladic is found and indicated that his capture is a test of the EU's credibility. Brammertz also stressed the importance of stability in the Balkans and urged the international community to continue to support efforts to bring the accused before the ICTY.

Mladic is one of two high-level targets still at large under the jurisdiction of the ICTY and faces charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for allegedly overseeing the Srebrenica massacre and other war crimes violations during the Bosnian civil war [JURIST news archive]. In May, Mladic's family filed a claim in the Belgrade District Court seeking to have him declared officially dead [JURIST report] in order to collect his state pension and sell his property. Earlier that month, the ICTY announced that the Office of the Prosecutor filed a motion to amend the indictment against Mladic [JURIST report] to include 11 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war in order to help speed up court proceedings once Mladic is captured. In March, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] said that the ICTY will continue to operate [JURIST report] beyond its originally planned end date, in part to apprehend both Mladic who has been a fugitive since 1995, and political leader Goran Hadzic [case materials], who both face a significant number of charges. Ban estimated that it will be necessary for the court to remain open until 2013.


 

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